Phase 2 Solutions http://phase2solutions.net PA Digital Marketing Company Mon, 13 Apr 2015 15:44:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Beyond SEO (Lead Generation) – Where do you go from there? http://phase2solutions.net/beyond-seo-lead-generation-where-do-you-go-from-there/ http://phase2solutions.net/beyond-seo-lead-generation-where-do-you-go-from-there/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 01:23:59 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/?p=1824 By now you have probably already heard that your website needs to be “search engined optimized (SEO’d)”. In other words, being found at the top of the list when a person searches directly for your product or service on major search engines. For most businesses, this is a critical factor in revenue growth and overall costs-of-sales. We work with one of the top SEO agencies in the world and have found a major flaw with most businesses when it comes to converting clicks into actual revenue. I’m going to break-down the problem and share a proven solution that works in converting those clicks to real dollars.

The Problem

Businesses are not converting even a fraction of the leads sitting right in front of them. For example, your cost per lead might be $75, but your cost per conversion might be 5K. When the systems to convert leads into revenue are not systematic or unpredictable, you lose money, and lots of it! Most businesses simply aren’t investing dollars to systematically improve lead conversion costs.

Companies typically spend $92 to bring customers to their site, But only $1 to convert them.

-Eisenberg Holdings

What does this tell you? It tells me that most companies are so focused on driving in leads without streamlining a process to convert those leads into dollars. Don’t get me wrong, lead generation is critical. It’s why you invest into efforts such as search engine optimization, paid search (e.g. Google Adwords), social media and so on. Without focus on lead conversion, you are doomed for slow and expensive growth. Something most businesses simply can’t afford.

The Solution

The solution to this problem is implementing a systematic Lead Conversion System (LCS). This is a system of automations and human processes that ensures all leads (generated from a variety of different sources) experience consistent engagement activities that support a remarkable buying experience that leads to increased sales. The goal is to generate efficiencies (cost savings) and to create effective processes that optimize your lead conversion rate. This assures any money spent on marketing to drive leads (e.g. through search engine optimization) is tied to processes that produce the greatest ROI.

Here’s how to get your Lead Conversion System off the ground…

Start to Understand the Ideal Customer Experience

Before getting into the details behind the development of your Lead Conversion System, start learning about the ideal customer experience. This is not an exercise you do by yourself. It involves conversations with your current or even prospective customers.

Ask them questions such as:

  • What would you say is your ideal buying experience for xyz services?
  • What is the most important bits of information you need in order to make a decision on xyz services?
  • What are factors you consider to build trust with brand?
  • In the ideal buying experience, what methods of communication would you say is most effective?
  • Please share an example of a buying experience you found remarkable

These are just a few of many questions you need to ask your customers. As you will see above, the answer to each question above will provide you with the information you need in order to properly architect your Lead Conversion System.

Find the Right Software to Architect Your Lead Conversion System

In order to develop a powerful Lead Conversion System, you need to first gather all of your findings from your research in understanding the ideal customer buying experience. This will tell you what software you’ll need.

Most Effective Lead Conversion systems include:

Lead Capture Software
This can be form software (e.g. Gravity Forms or iFormbuilder.com), call tracking software, or even website customer analytic tools such as KissMetrics.

Customer Web Analytics

Sales CRM
This is a system to take leads from your lead capture software and track activity in order to convert leads into sales revenue. My particular favorite sales CRM is PipeDrive.

pipedrive

Relationship Management Software
This is software designed to provide a way to communicate and collaborate with leads in order to convert them into prospects. Think of systems such as MailChimp (email marketing) and Social HubSite (online community).

socialhubsite

Business Dashboard Software
All of the software and sales/marketing processes in the world won’t mean a thing unless you can properly correlate marketing and sales data into objective reports that empower you to make better business decisions. Dashboards essentially aggregate data from all of your marketing systems, sales systems and even fulfillment systems so you can view your business end-to-end to measure and improve in real-time. Examples of business dashboard softwares include Klipfolio, DucksBoard and Geckoboard. The type of dashboard you choose will depend on the complexity of data you need to view and what sources you want to pull the data from.

One other key point I want to make with business dashboards is how they can empower your marketing team to start talking to your sales team. Imagine giving your marketing team a report of the top 50 email subscribers based on data from all sent email campaigns. If marketing has data like this they can help sales focus on deals that have a higher likelihood of closing faster.

Business Dashboard Software

Choose Cloud-Based Software

A major factor you need to consider when choosing the right software is centered around one word: INTEGRATION. In other words, your lead capture software needs to talk to your Sales CRM, relationship management software and dashboard software. Otherwise, you will create major inefficiencies in the sales process remove several points of visibility into your company.

My recommendation is to choose cloud-based software products that have well documented API’s (Application Programming Interfaces) and/or integration with services such as Zapier which make it possible to get software systems to talk to each other without a high level of technical knowledge.

zapier

Implement System Automations with Your Chosen Lead Conversion Software 

Once you have chosen your cloud-based software to run your Lead Conversion System, it’s time to implement system automations.

Here is an example of just one automation that can take all take place automatically in a matter of seconds costing a fraction of a penny:

  1. Someone fills out a lead form on a specific page of your website
  2. Person is automatically assigned to a specific list segment in your email marketing software for that particular service
  3. Person is added to a specific pipeline in your Sales CRM
  4. Email and text message goes out to sales person (through form software or tool such as Zapier) to notify them immediately
  5. Person is sent an welcome email triggering from an automation campaign in Mail Chimp.
  6. Person is set to receive service specific emails to help build trust with the brand
  7. Automatic LinkedIn connection request is sent from sales person of the service they expressed interest in.
  8. Phone call is assigned to sales person via Sales CRM within 30 minutes of the lead form submission
  9. Sales person doesn’t follow through in 30 minutes – is sent text message and email reminder
  10. Sales person makes call and schedules follow up activity – business dashboard software is updated automatically so sales manager can view the activity and executive management can view the potential revenue.

This is just one example of an automated process that can happen. These types of automated processes are only possible if the tools you choose have the capability of working together.

Measure and Improve Your Lead Conversion System

Once the all of the systems and processes are setup, it’s time to step outside and take a look at your business dashboard to view your metrics and make adjustments. The reality is that your Lead Conversion System will not be perfect the first time around. It’s going to take time to tweak and perfect. You’ll find new automations that need setup. You’ll find better ways to integrate your engagement activities within your sales CRM. You’ll find more data that your marketing team needs to better empower your sales team to improve sales conversion timeframes.

The key point to remember with measuring your Lead Conversion System is to make sure you are tracking the right data. For example, if Facebook “Likes” don’t empower your marketing team to make decisions or to communicate with sales, then don’t measure it. A metric like this might go under a separate category such as “brand exposure”, but doesn’t make sense as a core marketing or sales metric.

An experienced digital media consultant can help you through several of these types of decisions. The software. The processes. The metrics. The improvements.

Overall, your Lead Conversion System is a major asset to your company. It gives you complete visibility of your company from marketing to fulfillment. It’s the ultimate empowerment tool you need to make decisions that support your goals, mission and vision.

Contact us today to schedule a consultation to discuss building a Lead Conversion System for your company. We look forward to hearing from you!

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What Every CEO Needs to Know About Their Digital Marketing Strategy http://phase2solutions.net/what-every-ceo-needs-to-know-about-their-digital-marketing-strategy/ http://phase2solutions.net/what-every-ceo-needs-to-know-about-their-digital-marketing-strategy/#comments Tue, 17 Feb 2015 18:42:12 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/?p=1782 There is a major flaw in the ever-growing world of possibilities of digital media. It’s lack of purpose – goals, mission and vision. I’ve read just about every major research statistic that shows a continued increase in digital marketing budgets in comparison to total company revenue.  Here is an example from Gartner: http://www.gartner.com/technology/research/digital-marketing/digital-marketing-spend-report.jsp

This upward trend tells us obviously that more and more companies are relying on digital media has an avenue for revenue growth and profitability. With opportunity comes risk.

The flaw in mindset at the executive level

Many of the requests and questions I get from new clients are centered around activities. For example, “We want to be on the first page of Google for xyz terms”, “We need a new website”, “We need to take better advantage of social media”. These are all valid questions that demonstrate a concern to improve their business, however this mindset is flawed. The mindset behind statements such as “we need to be doing…” or “we need to take advantage of…” will make you bankrupt.

The flaw in mindset behind these questions is that they are centered around activities and not specific measurable goals. Decisions on digital marketing strategy start with business objectives. Clear and measurable goals that are set typically at the executive level. Technology is NOT part of this equation at this point.

Make digital marketing an asset, not a liability

The goals needs to be considered with both quantifiable metrics and qualitative metrics. For example, “we want to increase revenue by $2m in 12 months for xyz sector of our business with clients that meet xyz criteria”. The quantifiable metric the scope that digital marketing activities needs to produce and the qualitative metric helps to focus in on aspects of the strategy that make the company profitable. This is the type of information that a digital marketing strategist needs in order to orchestrate the digital marketing activities necessary to deliver on these goals.

Company goals that are very specific with quantifiable and qualifiable metrics help digital marketing strategist determine:

  • The tools to measure data from all digital marketing campaigns to produce metrics that tie directly back to company goals. For example, a reporting dashboard such as Klipfolio.
  • The digital marketing platforms, technology, people and vendors needed to execute the strategies that produce supporting metrics in line with company goals.
  • The order of digital marketing activities that validate the execution of subsequent activities. For example, running a Google Adwords campaign to find out what keywords are producing the highest return on investment before spending more budget dollars on organic SEO activities.
  • The appropriate budget required to support the scope behind the technology, people and vendors required to execute the digital marketing strategy.

This list can go on forever. The point I want to make here is that decisions in digital marketing need to be made from your company goals first before ANY decisions are made on technology, people and vendors to execute the strategy. Otherwise it’s difficult and almost impossible to measure the ROI from a budget allocated to digital marketing.

Get started with a digital marketing strategist

Overall, you need to consider working with a digital marketing strategist that:

  • Can understand your company goals and translate them into a series of projects, activities and technology to support those goals.
  • Reports back to you or a member of your staff at least once a month on how progress has been made to support company goals. There needs to be a standard set of reporting that proves results (i.e. business dashboard).
  • Is unbiased to vendors in the digital market space as strategy shifts will take place. Even the best digital marketers never get it right 100% of the time. It’s just a reality so we need to plan ahead for it.
  • Documents each part of the digital marketing strategy as a project. This helps to determine what activities are working and which ones aren’t. Looking at your digital marketing strategy as one large project is a big mistake.

These points will help set you in the right mindset so you can see how your digital marketing strategy fits into your overall company strategy and goals. This mindset will keep you on point. It will keep you focused ON THE BUSINESS and not IN IT.

 

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Segment, Segment and Segment Your Email List – Here’s Why http://phase2solutions.net/segment-segment-segment-email-list/ http://phase2solutions.net/segment-segment-segment-email-list/#comments Fri, 15 Aug 2014 14:42:46 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/?p=1749

Email is overwhelming

How many emails do you receive in 1 day? 50, 100, 200, 500? Out of these emails, how many are truly relevant and worth opening? There are a bunch of statistics about email that all lead to the fact that we’ve become accustomed to treating email like the $5 DVD bin at a department store. You spent most of your time sifting through emails that are not relevant or interesting just to get to the ones that matter. Now let’s reverse this thought and view it from the perspective of people on your email list. How relevant are you to the subscribers on your email list?

Relevancy relies on perspective

What’s relevant to your email subscribers will always be an argument unless you start to segment your email list. Having one general list is great, however, you need to start segmenting your subscribers and sharing content to those segments that they find valuable. Mind you this particular post is intended for my general email subscriber list. I could take this exact article and adjust it to fit a subscriber segment. For example, if I wanted to talk about email list segmentation to law firms, I might use examples of segments such as “referring law firms”, “current clients”, “association members”, “business law subscribers”. I might even change the title of this blog post to “Segment, Segment, Segment your law firm email list”. How you segment your email list really depends on the dynamic of your community and what information that you’ve collected already.

Email list and content segmenting at work

Another good example for the importance of email list segmentation is what we’ve done with Social HubSite (www.socialhubsite.com). The Social HubSite product is a perfect fit for organizations with a pre-existing community (e.g. associations, clubs, teams, etc.). Before we use to focus much of our content toward a general market and used general examples that may or may not relate to any particular target market segment we had on our list. We realized that many of our users were in these segments, but we always clumped them in one big list. The other problem we took notice to was that our email open and click through rate was starting to decline which made it almost impossible to use email as an EFFECTIVE tool to get people using their Social HubSite and to upgrade their account.

Where content segmenting makes a real difference in your marketing

Once we decided to focus on segmenting our list and creating content for the different types of user organizations, growth started to happen. For instance, we created a blog category for “Associations” and tied that blog category to feed into an automatic email campaign to go to association users after we published new content. The focus around the content was on topics that associations value the most (e.g. membership retention, membership engagement, fundraising, etc.). We were also able to reference examples within the content to associations which seemed to make a much greater impact. It also helped to equip our sales staff to forward articles to new prospective associations generating a much better response and of course, building a much deeper sense of trust.

The benefits of email list segmentation are tremendous. It will help increase your email open and click through rates, increase interactivity and ultimately make your community feel that you are listening and in tune with their needs. Yes, this means you might need to create more content for different groups of people, but trust me, it is worth every dollar or bit of time spent.

Take the next step

Let’s chat about your email and content marketing approach to help optimize your digital marketing strategy to achieve real business objectives. You can start by contacting us. We’d love to chat and find out how we can help.

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Video Tip: How to Choose the Right Digital Marketing Vendor http://phase2solutions.net/quick-video-tip-choose-right-digital-marketing-vendors/ http://phase2solutions.net/quick-video-tip-choose-right-digital-marketing-vendors/#comments Fri, 08 Aug 2014 17:54:37 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/?p=1736 Digital marketing solutions companies come in all shapes and sizes. Some stick strictly to one service, such as website development. Some offer a wide array of services. The challenge, as a business, is how to go about choosing the right one that understands your business objectives and produce the results you are looking for, whatever they may be. In the following video I will share a few tips on making sure you choose the right digital marketing vendors. Enjoy :)

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People Marketing: Have you drank the Kool-Aid? http://phase2solutions.net/people-marketing-have-you-drank-the-cool-aid/ http://phase2solutions.net/people-marketing-have-you-drank-the-cool-aid/#comments Sun, 22 Jun 2014 19:54:57 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/blog/?p=1572 People are awesome! People have ideas. People know people. People relate with other people. People can be passionate. People care. People are so many things. Without people, you and I wouldn’t be here. Without the focus on people in your marketing, you become commoditized. You become just another company that sells “blah”. Let’s take a deeper look…

As I always say, you need 4 main elements present to build a successful brand community (the core behind EVERYTHING in and around your company) – Purpose, People, Platform and Process. The People part is what I find most companies missing out on. They spend all their time promoting their brand through their brand and not the people in it. I put together a simple diagram below to explain what I mean.

emailinfographic

To follow this example, let’s say you come up with an awesome bit of content that your clients and prospects will truly find valuable and want to send it out through an email campaign. Instead of always sending the content “from” your company (with company header, etc.), consider sending it from the PEOPLE that make up your company.

I reference 5 sales representatives. Each of them having a set number of contacts that they’ve gathered say through live networking, social networking and possibly through a bit of inbound marketing. The contacts these people have will most likely recognize them assuming they’ve done a good job of introducing themselves in the first place. Also, think about the combined database between all of your people. It will most likely far surpass what your company will ever do on it’s own. That’s unless you have an unlimited marketing budget :)

So when an email campaign with your awesome bit of content goes out and it has their name in the “from” line in the email, there is a much higher likelihood of the person on the other side opening the email. Makes sense right?

Quick side note: You need to develop a systematic way to update the email database for the people in your company. There are a number of different ways to do this while making your life easier. For example, using API syndication tools that automatically sync people in your CRM systems/social networks directly into list segments (for the people in your organization) within the email marketing software you use. Most of them now integrate pretty well with other systems.

Taking this example a step further, we would develop a system to deliver the email campaign reports directly to the sales representative. This would include all important items such as how many opens and click through’s and more importantly, WHO opened and clicked through in the campaign. You could even take this a step further and automate the email reporting activity directly into your CRM (e.g. SalesForce.com). For example, when a contact clicks through in a campaign, say an article that is shared, the reporting system would create an activity and set a reminder in your sales CRM to follow up with that person. Pretty cool huh?

Ok, so now that the sales representative has the reports, they can be much more efficient and effective at following up. For example, if your prospect database has 2,000 people in it, they will be able to identify the 20 that are interested, or at least are engaging with your brand, RIGHT NOW!

This type of approach creates efficiency and effectiveness in your marketing. Nobody wants to feel as if they are “being marketed to”. People want the comfort in their minds that someone cares about them. It’s a human need. So when information of value is shared, don’t you think it deserves to come from other humans? Especially the humans in your company?

My overall point here is that when you look at building a brand community, start with the people in it already. You can then choose the platforms and implement the right processes around those people to create a sense of brand community. A true sense of connectedness from the people in and around your company. Remember, product/service you sell is only as good as the people who sell it. Support and build a system around your people and you will experience growth like never before!

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What does your digital community say about you? http://phase2solutions.net/what-does-your-digital-community-say-about-you/ http://phase2solutions.net/what-does-your-digital-community-say-about-you/#comments Sat, 14 Jun 2014 12:52:27 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/blog/?p=1567 Large social networks (Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.) are great for expanding your network and to help grow your community, but they fail miserably at 3 things. Purpose. Focus. Value. Go ahead and ask 5 of your friends/colleagues what the purpose of say Facebook is and I bet you will get 5 different answers.  Let’s dive in deeper…

Think about all of the Facebook pages you’ve ever “Liked”. How much time do you spent on those pages engaging with that company? Really. I read a very good article on Facebook recently on Social Media Today that referenced several statistics regarding how Facebook page reach has declined to something around 1-2%. So that 1,000 likes really means about 10-20 people even seeing your posts, let alone engage with them. For B to B businesses, this makes your job even harder. Let’s face it, without purpose, focus or value, your chances of really building a loyal community that can help you achieve your mission is pretty dismal.

One last point on I will make on this topic is what does your presence on large social networks really say about your organization? Are you just conforming to the “social norm”? Are you just like everyone else? Of course not. There is something unique about you. There is a value you bring that no one else does. How you demonstrate that value is everything. Perception is reality.

When you create a purpose-drive community you demonstrate your unique value to the world. You open up the opportunity for your community (e.g. members, stakeholders, partners, etc.) to help you achieve your mission. That’s the reason why I created Social HubSite. I wanted to provide an easy way for any organization to create and run a digital community that is integrative and keeps up with the way people expect to communicate (mobile, text, etc.) that allows them to put their name on it. To control the community.

We created Phase 2 Connect (private company community) using Social HubSite to not only make it easier for everyone in and around our company to communicate, but also to show the people we work with the true purpose of our organization. Think of it as internal marketing. Just having the name and logo with Phase 2 Connect speaks volumes to the people that work with us. It makes them feel connected to something.

What do you think your staff would say if you launched a digital community specifically for them? How would you make them feel?

What do you think your customers would say about a digital community specifically for them? How would you make them feel?

What do you think your referral sources and partners would say about a digital community specifically for them? How would you make them feel?

We aren’t talking about technology here. Yes, Social HubSite is integrative and has a lot of great features, but who cares! If it doesn’t satisfy human emotions, nobody will even take the time to participate. They won’t see the value.

As I see it, if you want to win in the world of social and digital media, you need to be different. Don’t just follow what everybody else is doing. Identify your community, create a place just for them and bring them value. It’s what separates you from the rest. It empowers people to help you without cost. It’s your best advertising vehicle. It’s what makes you who you really are. It makes your vision a reality.

 

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Why Your Company Needed an Internal Community Yesterday http://phase2solutions.net/why-your-company-needed-an-internal-community-yesterday/ http://phase2solutions.net/why-your-company-needed-an-internal-community-yesterday/#comments Mon, 02 Jun 2014 17:12:04 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/blog/?p=1560 Keeping everyone in and around your organization on the same page is difficult. Employees. Referral sources. Vendors. The longer that list gets, the harder it becomes to keep everyone on the same page and to maintain the culture in the company that it needs to grow.

A study by the Global Business and Economic Roundtable on Addiction and Mental Health found that miscommunication is the number 2 cause of stress in the American workplace. With stress comes inefficiency, turnover and lost dollars. Miscommunication can be solved by creating a real culture in a company.

The problem of maintaining a sense of culture in a company, as I see it, is the mode on which we rely for communication. Email has become one of those modes that we rely on everyday. Overall, email is great for notifications, but extremely poor at organizing the way we communicate internally.

The 2 major problems with email

  1. It doesn’t create context
  2. It is extremely passive

When it comes to building a company culture and really empowering everyone in and around the company to make it succeed, email just doesn’t cut it.

Think about if…

  • All of your referral sources were to give you at least 1 solid referral each month
  • Your employees felt a part of something greater and how that would effect output
  • Your vendors became an integral part of your sales force
  • You could go on vacation for a week without having to worry about checking 100+ emails everyday to “keep up”

These are just a few of many benefits you will receive when you have a strong company culture. No matter what size your company is, when you establish a true culture to your company, everything changes.

How the Big G does it

Look at Google for example. They achieve a strong company culture through events, their workspace, training and even through the kind of food they serve in their cafeteria. I ran across a good video (below) that goes into that culture a bit further through the eyes of interns. As you watch the video imagine an intern coming into your company. What would they say?

The good news is that achieving a real company culture doesn’t have to be difficult. You can start by setting up an internal digital community, or social network, for your company.

Internal social networks add context to your communication. They create the opportunity to properly segment communication. They create an environment where people feel heard. They are places to celebrate wins. They are places to share new ideas. Ultimately, internal social networks are places to engage, share and connect with those that can truly help your company succeed. Oh, and you don’t need to be the size of Google to make one happen :).

At Phase 2 Solutions, we eat our own dog food. Phase 2 Connect is our very own internal social network. We’ve designed the system and processes around it to keep everyone on the same page while also establishing an open culture of communication. For example, vendors can educate our sales staff on new products/services cutting out countless hours training our team with the same information.

Here are a few other examples of how we use it to build our own company culture…

Training sales staff

training


Keeping everyone up-to-speed with industry trends

contentsharing


Rewarding great work

rewarding


Daily department status updates

statusupdates


Segmenting communications by department

departments


Keeping standard documents all in one place

documents


Inspiring the entire team

inspiration

Overall, if you want your company to achieve it’s vision, mission and to make a few extra bucks along the way, think of it as a community.

As with any community it needs Purpose (why), People (employees, vendors, referral sources, etc.), Platform (Company HubSite) and a Process (daily status updates, acknowledging great work daily, etc.). Put these components together and you will propel your company to a level you never thought was possible.

If you want to implement an internet company community, please contact my team at Phase 2 Solutions by clicking here.

 

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How to Avoid the 4 Common Mistakes Most Companies Make in Digital Marketing http://phase2solutions.net/how-to-avoid-the-4-common-mistakes-most-companies-make-in-digital-marketing/ http://phase2solutions.net/how-to-avoid-the-4-common-mistakes-most-companies-make-in-digital-marketing/#comments Tue, 27 May 2014 12:38:48 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/blog/?p=1539 Managing your entire digital marketing strategy is not easy. With an ever-growing number of software options and services, it becomes very difficult to stay focused. One minute someone is telling you to do email marketing, then social media and then blogging. Oh and by the way, you should be running a business at the same time. Unless you have an endless budget and time, the process is never going to get easier.

The 4 Most Common Mistakes Most Organizations Make

To deal with this overwhelming process, I see many leaders making the following mistakes:

  • Trying to do everything (social media, email marketing, blogging, etc.), but hiring for the lowest cost (no results)
  • Spending their entire budget in one area (e.g. social media)
  • Becoming highly reactive (quickly doing what someone tells them to do)
  • Spending their own time trying to manage everything

The reason that I would deem any of these activities as mistakes is that they are lacking the key ingredients that actually make an impact to improve an organization. Here are just a few examples:

  • Determining the overall business objectives
  • Determining Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
  • Matching tactics with resources that understand the business objectives and KPI’s
  • Determining how digital marketing management plays into the organizational chart of the organization

Shifting Focus From “Doing” to “Measuring”

Notice how none of the factors above mention anything about tactics. When you start focusing on tactics it’s easy to get caught in the weeds and to lose site of the overall purpose behind anything you do in the digital space. How many times you tweet, blog or send emails isn’t going to improve your bottom line. Integrating digital marketing tactics into measurable business processes that support operations will improve your bottom line.

Below are a few examples of integrating digital marketing tactics into measurable business processes. Obviously, these are examples and would need to be modified based on the needs of your organization.

Faster sales conversions

  • Take the top 10% of your email marketing list (people who open and click through the most) and create a separate email segment. From there, plan out a series of email campaigns with strong calls-to-action. Then, use video emails from sales representatives to follow through with the sale.
  • Possible Key Performance Indicator (KPI): Lower cost of sale (COS), increased sales revenue

Improve employee morale and productivity

  • Setup a private social platform (e.g. Company HubSite) and assign one person in your company (e.g. Marketing Coordinator) to post a company update at least once per day. Make sure that the update includes employee work performance highlights, company wins, company direction and upcoming company events. Require each department head to share a similar update within their group in the network. Assure the platform is both available for desktop and as a mobile app (for “in the moment” updates)
  • Possible Key Performance Indicator (KPI): Increased employee satisfaction rating, less turnover

 Increase in quality sales leads

  • Assign a dedicated business development person (not social media guru) devoted to not only updating company social networks, but also to building relationships with potential clients and referral sources. Activities might entail going to LinkedIn and participating 30% of the time in responding to relevant group activities and 70% of the time connecting with group members. At the end of each week, provide a report to the sales team to follow up on any opportunities.
  • Possible Key Performance Indicator (KPI): Increased number of sales leads per month

Take notice that none of these activities really require a “social media guru”. Don’t get me wrong, social media is a big part of the overall digital landscape, but, at the end of the day, it needs to apply as a function in your business. It can’t be something “extra” you do. It needs to be integrated within the roles of your organization. It needs to be measurable.

You’re now in control of your digital marketing strategy

Going from the tactical mindset to the strategic mindset is critical for your business to grow. Either that or you will be peddling from software to software and person to person. The first step is to actually have a digital marketing plan. A written document (that will change over time) that details how everything you do leads back to Key Performance Indicators that actually make a difference in your company. Once you have it, you will feel in control and understand where everything fits in. You’ll be one step ahead of your competitors as they continue to go from tactic to tactic, social network to social network, software to software.

Take the next step

Let us help you develop your digital marketing plan. We will sit with you to truly understand your business objectives and Key Performance Indicators that make you successful. To setup your free consultation, please click here.

 

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Phase 2 Solutions Announces Release of Planet GRAD 2.0 http://phase2solutions.net/phase-2-solutions-announces-release-planet-grad-2-0/ http://phase2solutions.net/phase-2-solutions-announces-release-planet-grad-2-0/#comments Tue, 06 May 2014 17:44:03 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/?p=1477 Today, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC – a digital marketing firm in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania – in partnership with Training Masters, Inc. announced the release of Planet GRAD 2.0.

Planet GRAD 2.0 is the official online community platform for higher education schools, staff, administrators, students, alumni and employers to connect with the implicit purpose of helping each community member succeed.

“We believe in the power of community,” explained Phase 2 Solutions, LLC Founder and CEO Jason Verdelli. “Today you aren’t guaranteed anything just because of a degree. Instead, it’s the connections and network that is formed that determines whether a student has a chance to succeed following graduation. Planet GRAD connects any and all interested parties – students, staff members and potential employers – in a way that’s exciting, useful and forward focused…it’s a community unlike any other,” he continued.

Not just helpful with job placement, Planet GRAD 2.0 also functions as a means of promoting internal communication – schools are able to use the system to communicate with staff and students, students can connect instantly and potential students can learn the benefit of a given school with a few clicks. Simply put, the system blends efficiency with essential tools to create a product that has set the bar for schools across the country.

Planet GRAD 2.0:

  • Helps students land jobs in desired career fields
  • Enables schools to communicate more effectively with the entire student body, specific lists and segments of those individuals involved in daily operations – employers, alumni, staff, faculty and more
  • Supports schools in building positive on- and off-campus cultures
  • Allows schools to recruit more students through the added value of an online community
  • Makes employers a true part of the school community
  • Opens the lines of communication between employers and students in a way that is more effective than traditional job listings and resume postings
  • Gives Career Services full visibility of student-to-employer and employer-to-student communication to improve career placement tracking
  • Creates a place for alumni to stay connected post-graduation and so much more.

Phase 2 Solutions and Training Masters, Inc. are committed to offering a solution-oriented approach to schools that are interested in building online alumni communities. This mobile-friendly platform offers outstanding features that can be customized for great results.

Closed communities are essential to the functioning of any system – especially educational systems with specific privacy concerns. Schools and administrators interested in learning more about what Planet GRAD 2.0 could bring to their network can schedule a demo on PlanetGrad.com.

Planet GRAD 2.0 is designed to improve operations from initial student interest to post-commencement. By creating a community that allows for the real-time engagement of faculty, students and employers, Planet GRAD 2.0 is the total package for recruitment, retention, placement and alumni engagement,” explains Dr. Rita Girondi, President of Training Masters, Inc. “The time to schedule a demo is now.”

Planet GRAD 2.0 is a product of 2 companies coming together with an idea – an idea to bring the power of community to the educational system to allow for complete success. These companies, Phase 2 Solutions, LLC – devoted to helping brands connect with their communities and Training Masters, Inc. – a company focused on improving the way schools operate worked together to create the product and bring it to the market. The unprecedented experience and vision of Dr. Rita Girondi – a former school owner – and Jason Verdelli – the digital community authority – has shaped Planet GRAD and the other suite of products offered by Training Masters into what they are today.

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The Social Media Death Trap: How to Escape It http://phase2solutions.net/social-media-death-trap-escape/ http://phase2solutions.net/social-media-death-trap-escape/#comments Mon, 31 Mar 2014 22:00:48 +0000 http://phase2solutions.net/?p=1427 Have you ever heard people say…”Your business needs to be on Facebook”, “You need to start a blog” or “You need to send out an email newsletter”. I find these assumptions vague and serving no purpose. It’s like someone telling you that you need tires for your car to run without telling you what kind, how big and knowing what model car you own. These assumptions are what I call the social media death trap. The real question is, are you in it?

A few signs that you are in the Social Media Death Trap?

The social media death trap is a place where you feel stuck. You post, post, post and post some more and aren’t really clear as to why you are doing it. Think of times you or someone handling your social media posted on Facebook or Twitter. What was the purpose?

Let’s take a look at a few other signs that you might be in the Social Media Death Trap…

False sense of success

Let’s say someone responds to one of your email campaigns. Was this luck or was a planned event? Is there a process for how you or your team are to respond to such an event? If the answer is no, you are stuck in the Social Media Death Trap.

Lack of Key Performance Indicators

Another big indicator that you are stuck inside of the social media death trap is the lack of Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). Your entire effort using social media relies on tactics, but there is no key statistics or events that indicate success relevant to your business. Nothing that says…”Hey, we just reached one of our goals, let’s go celebrate”. Oh and just being able to measure your efforts (e.g. open rate of an email) doesn’t count on it’s own. If you haven’t defined your Key Performance Indicators, you’ll NEVER have a clear indication of what’s working and what’s not.

Social media only involves “being on Facebook, Twitter, etc.”

I’ve always said there are 2 types of online communities organizations need to focus on. External (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, etc.) that help attract people to  your brand and Internal communities (i.e.  that help maintain the communication necessary for building the relationship further. If your only putting your focus into External communities without considering how you plan on building those relationships further, you’ll be stuck with many contacts, but no money.

Lack of time and resources

We all know how fast a day can go by. You get that motivation to share that blog post or make new contacts via social networks, but nothing gets done. Why? Well, this is a key sign you are in the Social Media Death Trap. You’ve set your priorities in such a way that doesn’t allow for time to implement your social media strategy. Now I’m not saying that is a bad thing. The role you’re in right now might not give you all the time necessary to implement your social media strategy. Someday you’ll get to it. And that someday never comes.

The Social Media Death Trap is one lonely place.

Here are a few results of being stuck inside of the Social Media Death Trap:


Problem Reason

Increased sales, marketing and advertising costs Lack of loyal community and under-utilization of efficient communication channels

Decreased morale and productivity Lack of platform to promote internal communication outside of the “day-to-day” tools

Increased emotional stress Well, trying to manage your entire social media strategy by yourself with everything else you have to do isn’t fun :( I’d also like to add that a sense of uncertainty is a big factor in your stress level. Not knowing what’s working and what isn’t can is definitely one of those uncertainties.

Huge opportunity costs As you experience unplanned small successes, your missing out on tactics that might yield 10 times better results

So, how the heck do you get out of the Social Media Death Trap…

There are 2 critical components that will help you get out of the Social Media Death Trap: Strategy and Resources.

Strategy

Let’s take a step back for a minute. Social media is really just a set of tools used to communicate with one another digitally. The key thing to remember is that it’s only 1 part of your overall digital marketing strategy.

You need a plan that is broken down into 4 areas:

  • Purpose – What specifically are you trying to achieve. Vision, mission and goals fits inside of this area
  • People – Who do you need to engage to achieve the Purpose
  • Platform – What Platforms best serve as a vehicle to engage the People
  • Process – What processes are necessary to use the Platforms to engage the right People to achieve your purpose

You need to employ a methodology, such as the one above, to get a better grip on how you are going to achieve your purpose. A methodology provides you with a framework from which you can develop your digital marketing strategy. From there you will be able to understand why and how to do things.

Resources

Once you have a clear written plan on how you are going to achieve your Purpose (e.g. vision, mission, goals, etc.), you need to consider what resources you will need to put in place to make it all work.

Resources might include:

  • A solutions provider to handle 1 or multiple tactics outlined in your digital marketing strategy
  • Money
  • Additional time required of yourself and/or your staff to interact with solution providers
  • Third party costs for software and tools needed to execute your digital marketing strategy (e.g. video email tool, email marketing services, etc.

One thing I want to make clear is that there is a clear difference when it comes to a digital marketing strategy company and a digital marketing solutions provider. A digital marketing strategy company, at least a good one, won’t give bias to a solution that requires their own staff to complete. This is because digital marketing strategy company’s don’t typically hire internal resources such as developers or designers to work directly on client projects. Their strategies are unbiased and include resources (people and companies) that are a best fit to implement their strategy.

Digital marketing solution providers on the other hand focus on tactics and implementation of a digital marketing strategy. They design. They code. They write. They are the doers.

It’s important to understand the clear difference between a strategy and solutions company especially in the digital marketing world. This is 1 major distinction that I’ve picked up on over the past 10 years of being in the industry.

If you are feel stuck in the Social Media Death Trap, don’t worry. Your not alone. The first step in utilizing digital media to it’s greatest degree is to first realize where you are and what steps you need to take to make it work for you.

Please feel free to contact us via the form below to schedule a free consultation. Myself, along with my team, will be glad to chat with you regarding your current digital marketing strategy.

Let’s start the conversation…

Schedule a free consultation

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